I am writing a paper and I have found in another paper a definition for a quantity which I am working with that is very clear and is written much better than I will ever be able to do. I tried paraphrasing it, but the result is not so clear: can I quote it in my paper?

1 Answer 1


You can quote it as long as you reference it properly.

If you do not provide the source then that is plagiarism.

  • I would also be cautious with plagiarism. It would be the case here, as OP has to rely on that beautiful sentence. But it shouldn't be unlikely that we arrive at the same definition while defining the same thing.
    – Alchimista
    Feb 12, 2020 at 10:32
  • @Alchimista nothing wrong in using your own words.
    – Solar Mike
    Feb 12, 2020 at 10:40
  • I am not saying you should not use your words. But that they can be already used in wild. Just I point out that similar or even identical definitions aren't necessarily a hint for plagiarism. Especially in science.
    – Alchimista
    Feb 12, 2020 at 10:42

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